It’s a conundrum that we post about frequently: Someone finds a dog suffering in a locked car on a hot day, but they’re not sure if they should risk breaking a window to free the animal. Well, as of July 1, you don’t have to worry in Vermont. . .as long as you follow a few steps first. A new law shields people from civil liability if they free a dog or a child from a hot car. But here are the steps a Good Samaritan must go through first:
The law requires people to call 911, fire or police before breaking into a car. They must check that the doors are locked, must use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle, must stay with the child or dog until emergency personnel arrive, and must leave a note on the vehicle about what happened.
Dez Marcello, pictured above, has been on both sides of this experience: she recently rescued a dog from a hot car with out-of-state plates in Warren Falls, Vermont, and in her role as a vetrinary technician, she has seen the trauma caused by a dog overheating. Let’s hope it’s not too long before all 50 states have laws like this one.